Scarlett Johansson says OpenAI used her likeness without permission for its ‘Sky’ voice assistant

Actor Scarlett Johansson has accused OpenAI of copying her voice for one of the voice assistants on ChatGPT, despite the company’s denial of permission. Johansson’s announcement on Monday came hours after OpenAI’s company announced no more Use voice in ChatGPT but it didn’t show why.

“Last September, I got an offer from Sam Altman, who wanted to hire me to voice the current ChatGPT 4.0 system,” says Johansson. shared first with NPR. “He told me that by making the system sound, I could bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives and help consumers feel comfortable with the seismic shift around humans and AI. He said he felt my voice would comfort people.” Johansson added that he rejected the offer after “a lot of thought and for personal reasons,” but when OpenAI showed off the company’s latest major language model, GPT-4o, last week, “my friends, family, and the general public said how much more the newest offering noted that. A system called ‘Sky’ sounded like me.

When Johansson saw OpenAIs newest demo, she said she was “shocked, outraged and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would go after a voice so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets couldn’t tell the difference.” He also revealed that just two days before the company discovered GPT-4o, he contacted Altman’s agent and asked him to reconsider, but released the system before he had a chance to respond.

“Sky’s voice is not Scarlett Johansson’s voice and was never intended to sound like hers,” an OpenAI spokesperson said in a statement to Engadget, crediting Altman, the company’s co-founder and CEO of OpenAI. “We assigned a voice actor behind Sky’s voice before any contact with Ms. Johansson. Out of respect for Ms. Johansson, we have stopped using Sky’s voice in our products. We apologize to Ms. Johansson for not being able to communicate better.”

While Sky has been one of the voice assistants on ChatGPT since September 2023, the GPT-4o the company announced last week takes things a step further. The company said the new model is closer to a “more natural human-computer interaction” and features executives having almost human-like conversations with a voice assistant in ChatGPT. This invited comparisons to Samantha, the virtual voice assistant played by Johansson in the 2013 film. His intimate with a person. Altman shortly after the incident he tweeted a single word in an obvious reference to the film – “his”.

Monday, OpenAI he said that he stopped using “Sky” in ChatGPT and a long post reveals how the company hires professional voice actors to create its virtual assistants and denies any resemblance to Johansson’s voice.

“We believe that AI voices should not intentionally imitate a celebrity’s distinctive voice – Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson, but a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice,” OpenAI wrote, adding that its performers each, who declined to be named for privacy reasons, “charged above-market rates and will continue to do so until their voices are used in our products.”

Johansson said in a statement that the move came only after he hired legal counsel, who wrote two letters to Altman and OpenAI demanding an explanation. Johansson wrote: “At a time when we all struggle with deep-rooted frauds and the protection of our likeness, our work, our identity, I believe these are questions that definitely deserve clarity.” “I look forward to the adoption of the relevant legislation to provide a solution in the form of transparency and the protection of individual rights.”

Update, May 20, 2024, 9:09 PM ET: This story has been updated to include a statement from OpenAI.

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